More tie-in stuff coming our way as we get closer to the release of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol.2. Now Marvel Press give us a new hardcover illustrated book called Rocket’s Rules. “Ever wonder how to navigate a quantum asteroid field? Escape a deep-space maximum-security prison? Insult a powerful adversary without anyone catching on? You’re in luck! In this ultimate intergalactic survival guide, Rocket covers everything you need to know – including what it takes to be a good member of a team. So pay attention and read up!” It hits the shelves (like a missile!) right before the movie comes out, but you can pre-order it now over at Simon & Schuster. [Tip #1: Don’t call him a raccoon!]
Later this month, Magnetic Press will be releasing the next installment of the Klaw series entitled Klaw: The Second Cycle. Once again it’s a hardcover graphic novel written by Antoine Ozanam and illustrated by Joël Jurion. As you may recall, in the first issue of Klaw we met young Angel Tomassini, who discovers several scary things at once: When he’s angry he turns into an anthro-tiger, and his father is a vicious crime boss, and there is a whole society of were-creatures who do not always have each others’ best interests at heart. And now: “The second volume in the series follows Angel and his girlfriend Lisa as they flee across the globe from the many dangerous forces that would steal their were-animal spirit for their own nefarious, criminal use. As if spotting and defending themselves from these hidden enemies isn’t hard enough, they also have to keep their own delicate control of their powers in check… innocent lives can get caught in the crossfire, and all the power in the world is useless if you can’t protect your friends and loved ones…” Check out the preview pages.
After a rather disastrous live action movie (which they had nothing to do with!), American Mythology Comics have decided that Underdog deserves a new coat of paint — and a new comic book series all his own. Created in 1964 by W. Watts Biggers for Total Television, the original Underdog animated series told the story of an anthro dog (known only as “Shoeshine Boy”) who had the secret ability to transform into the flying caped crime-fighter known as Underdog. Now, many years later, American Mythology present the new full-color comic written by Batton Lash and illustrated by Bill Galvan. It’s hitting the shelves this month, and Previews World has an interview with the creators.
Ben Byrd has been a professional web designer and creative director for a long time. When he lost his then-current job a couple years ago, he made the decision to dive head-first into his artwork. And so he began displaying his colorful pictures of fantasy characters and comic book icons at art shows and fannish conventions all over. A quick look at his web site will show you just how prolific he has been. Now, he’s self-published his very first illustrated book for children, simply titled Dragons. Written by Tatiana Topyrik and illustrated by Mr. Byrd, it’s a rhyming bedtime story ostensibly for young kids, but older fantasy fans should enjoy it too. It’s available now on Amazon.
Battlecats is a new fantasy-adventure comic book series written by Mark London and illustrated in vibrant full color by Andy King and Julian Gonzalez. According to the publisher, Mad Cave, “In a land where chaos is embraced and war is the ultimate desire, order must be enforced. Enter the Battlecats. The most seasoned warriors in the land, fearless, determined, devout, this elite group travels the realm of Valderia fulfilling the King’s mandates and displaying heroism worthy of the God they worship. The Battlecats are about to embark on their most perilous quest, all while unraveling the origins of a holy war.” Shades of He-Man and, yes, Thundercats — in a good way. There’s a trailer up on YouTube. As you can see there, Mad Cave not only have several issues of the comic out but also t-shirts, posters, and even a soundtrack CD are available now.
We got this direct from Anime News Network. Seven Seas Entertainment have licensed Spica Aoki’s fantasy manga series Beasts of Abigaile for distribution in North America. Here’s what the publishers say: “Beasts of Abigaile follows a young woman’s fantastical adventures in the mythical country of Ruberia—and all the trials, tribulations, and attractive half-beast people that come with it! In this exciting new series loosely inspired by the classic fable of Little Red Riding Hood, readers will embark on a beautifully-illustrated journey of magical adventure and romance. Tsukishiro Nina has just arrived in the beautiful country of Ruberia, and its charming denizens and lush scenery are like a fairy tale come true. That is until she’s beset by a mysterious young man with a steely gaze and furry wolf ears—who promptly bites her! Nina finds herself turning into one of these beasts of legend, and whisked away to the prison of Abigaile where all their kind are sent. Nina must keep her wits about her if she’s to learn the secrets of this magical world where everyone either makes her blood boil or her young heart race!” Look for it to be released in black & white this June.
John Layman made a name for himself with the surreal comic book series Chew. Now he’s at Aftershock Comics with a new title called Eleanor & The Egret. Here’s what Comic Alliance said about it: “With the wrap up of Chew this year, John Layman has proved himself one of the go-to creators when it comes to crime comedy comics, and Eleanor and the Egret looks to be at least as surreal as his previous series. Sam Kieth, the legendary creator behind The Maxx, feels like an exciting choice to illustrate this Catch Me If You Can-style caper involving an art thief and a heron.” A heron who eats fine works of art, in fact. This is from the publishers: “A slightly surreal tale of an art thief and her sidekick, a talking egret who gets just a bit bigger after each successful caper, as they embark on a escalating series of daring thefts of world-famous paintings, and dodge pursuers in an increasingly weirdly dangerous game of cat & mouse.” Look for it this April.
Not to be out-done, this May Marvel will also bring us I Am Groot, the first solo comic featuring everyone’s favorite simple-talking anthropomorphic tree. It’s written by Christopher Hastings (Gwenpool, The Unbelievable) and illustrated by Flaviano. “When the Guardians of the Galaxy get caught in a wormhole, a smaller-than-normal Groot is separated billions of light-years away from the team. Falling to a planet below, Groot discovers he is on an entirely alien and unknown world full of strange creatures and societies. Seriously underdeveloped and with nobody who can understand him, Groot will need to make the journey to the center of this world and find the way back to his family!” Comicbook.com has an interview with Mr. Hastings talking all about it.
In what is perhaps a strange move (given his currently ever-growing popularity!) Marvel Comics have canceled their most recent Rocket Raccoon comic book series — only to replace it with a new one called Rocket, according to Bleeding Cool. “He thought his paws were clean, that they were on the up and up. But just when he thought he was out, they grabbed him by the fuzzy tail and pulled him back in. One day, and old flame (who happens to be an Otter) swims back into your life and just like that you’re back in the game…the heist game. From the dingy alleys of Knowhere to the far corners of deep space, they’ll speak in whispers that one of the best there ever was is back. If you need a safe cracked. If you need a vault busted. If you’ve got a big score that needs taking…you call Rocket. Just don’t call him a raccoon. It won’t end well for you.” Good Grief — the return of Lylla?? Look for it this May, written by by Al Ewing (The Ultimates, U.S.Avengers) and illustrated by Adam Gorham (The Violent).